In my cruising around the Internet looking at various political sites, I usually find at least one – if not more – articles that make me roll my eyes, or shake my head. Why? Because I’m frequently stunned by the truly dumb things that people advocate or will believe in – evidence to the contrary. It’s across the political spectrum. The ability of people to believe in something, despite those inconvenient things called “facts” and “evidence,” often makes me despair.
This snippet is a case in point: Sharon Angle to headline at the National Doctors Tea Party.
… is promoted by a group called the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
They have denied the link between HIV and AIDS; they have dabbled in birtherism; they have argued that President Obama may have used “covert hypnosis” to rally his crowds; and have suggested that the Food and Drug Administration is unconstitutional.
What’s sad is not that Sharon Angle is stupid enough believe this stuff, but there are actually people with “M.D.” after their names who do. Then again, having actually worked with doctors – and trained them in research – it’s not all that unbelievable, either. It’s not just on the right, though. All I have to do is take a quick run over to Huffington Post and read Dr. Mark Hyman’s posts. Yup, he’s got all kinds of stuff he writes about, and of course, he’ll tout his books. Most of it is new-age crap, that’s a hop-and-skip through various scientific literature (I’m sure he read the abstracts) and cobbled it together to match his predetermined belief. You can also find extensive blaming of mercury for all our ails on various posts there, along with complete touting of reason that vaccines are “bad.” Never mind that the vaccine hypothesis has been discredited, that most of the “mercury poisoning” notion is garbage not backed up by actual research. If it’s a “naturopathic”, “natural” or something, HuffPo will run it like it’s the next great discovery.
I have a real problem. You see, I did something foolish in my youth. I went to college and studied science. Even worse, I went into research, and learned to do things like properly collect and analyze data, and write scientific papers reporting the results. It crippled me when it comes to mindless acceptance of the newest fad, belief system, or “cure” just because the person touting it has “M.D.” or “Ph.D.” after their name. It gave me a bad habit of looking at the actual research, and the data – and being able to see where someone was selectively presenting it, if not outright lying.
Now, I’m realistic enough that I don’t expect people to do what I do, or to have my background. At the same time, what I do expect is that people (particularly doctors) see that the preponderance of scientific evidence – if not outright proof – says that something is real, or that their belief isn’t correct, then they need to examine their belief, or accept the reality. Unfortunately that isn’t happening. Stupid is to me like the sun is to a vampire. It burns!